Apparel retailer Ascena Retail Group Inc. , reported a fiscal third-quarter profit that fell to $24.4 million, or 15 cents a share, from $33.2 million, or 20 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share for the quarter ended April 25 came in at 18 cents, missing the FactSet consensus of 19 cents. Net sales increased 0.5% to $1.15 billion, just shy of the FactSet consensus of $1.16 billion. Combined same-store sales fell 1%, compared with the FactSet consensus of a 0.2% increase, as declines in sales at its Justice and Dressbarn stores offset growth at its Lane Bryant, Maurices and Catherines stores. Ascena announced a deal last month to buy apparel retailer Ann Inc. in a deal valued at $2 billion. Ascena's stock, which was little changed in after-hours trade, has run up 16% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.5%.
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